I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Jonathan Victor, COO at Oceanwide, a leading insurance software company. Jonathan and I discussed the challenges they faced prior to implementing AppDynamics APM, such as gaining visibility into their cloud operations and diagnosing the root cause of performance issues. We also discussed how they ultimately chose AppDynamics over competitors and the benefits they’ve seen since using AppDynamics.
Hannah Current: Please tell us a little about Oceanwide and your role there.
Jonathan Victor: Since 1996, Oceanwide has been delivering SaaS core processing solutions to property and casualty insurers of all sizes across the globe. Our configurable insurance software solutions enable insurers to react to market changes, configure new products and manage their products with increased speed and lower costs for any line of business, virtually eliminating professional service fees. Designed from the ground up to be web enabled and fully configurable without custom programming, our solutions automate policy, billing, claims, underwriting, document management, agent/consumer portals and more for insurers, MGAs, and brokers.
I’m responsible for managing the Oceanwide private cloud and the insurance applications which we (develop &) run on top of it. I have a dedicated Cloud Operations team which ensures that Oceanwide’s insurance platform is performing optimally and available 24/7/365 to meet the needs of our global user base.
HC: What challenges did you suffer before using APM? And how did you troubleshoot before using an APM tool?
JV: Prior to implementing an APM solution in our cloud operations center, we were limited by only having access to application logs and infrastructure related monitoring and alerting. Identifying the source of a performance or application issue was a challenge as the application stack was very much a black box and the data we were getting from the infrastructure and database tiers was disconnected. We worked with many disparate data sources including logs, and system performance monitors. The task of correlating this data to identify a root cause was a complex, manual effort.
HC: What was your APM selection process/criteria?
JV: We required an APM solution that fully supported the .NET / Windows / SQL technology stack and provided rich user and transaction details from the browser through to our underlying cloud infrastructure. We also required a solution that was scalable and had an intuitive UI that our operations and development teams could use with minimal training. We also required a solution that could run on the Oceanwide private cloud given our industry and data privacy constraints.
HC: Why AppDynamics over the other solutions out there?
JV: We reviewed several APM vendors and felt the AppDynamics’ value proposition best suited our needs. The AppDynamic solution has proven to be a reliable, powerful troubleshooting and real-time monitoring tool that is at the core of our cloud operations centre. AppDynamics’ excellent customer support worked closely with our engineers as we implemented their solution across our private cloud. This was a critical component which was validated during our pilot as we needed to be confident that the AppDynamics agents would not have an adverse impact on our insurance applications.
HC: How has AppDynamics helped to solve some critical problems?
JV: AppDynamics has been central in our analysis of performance improvements and/or application issues on our insurance platform.
When investigating application performance, the ability to drill down through application snapshots and view the distribution of time across the transaction path allows for a rapid identification of the components involved. Being able to then directly correlate this information with metrics such as CPU and memory utilization, is incredibly valuable as it would require hours of manual work to accomplish the same task.
AppDynamics had enabled our cloud operations team to quickly identify stored procedure calls as well as to view many other granular details for a given business transaction. The live monitoring provides us with immediate notifications when an application performance issue has occurred and gives our operations team the ability to be to proactive and avert issues before they impact end users.
We are looking forward to migrating to the newest version of AppDynamics, which includes full database monitoring and a single pane of glass view across the application, database and infrastructure tiers.
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